Helping Cities Participate in the 2016 Global City Teams Challenge: A Federal Funding Opportunity


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 Helping Cities Participate in the 2016 Global City Teams Challenge: A Federal Funding Opportunity
Helping Cities Participate in the 2016 Global City Teams Challenge: A Federal Funding Opportunity

Thousands of cities and communities around the world are advancing “smart city” projects to harness the potential of the Internet of Things to improve and expand the services they deliver to their residents. This year, three cities in the U.S. will receive some extra assistance in their smart city projects, through a $300,000 federal funding opportunity from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This cooperative agreement program, targeted at city or community participants in NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC), is part of a much larger $160-million Smart Cities Initiative announced last September at the White House’s Smart Cities Forum. The challenge is bringing together dozens of “action clusters” that are teams of entrepreneurs, innovators, and experts from industry, government, and academia who are collaborating on specific smart city projects.  These projects, in areas ranging from transportation improvement to sustainable energy management to emergency response, share a common goal—improving resource management and quality of life by using effective networking of computer systems and physical devices.

In the GCTC program, each action cluster must have a representative from at least one city or community. However, the constraints of a city’s budget can all too often prevent their representative from being a full and active participant on these highly collaborative teams. Many community budgets do not provide for the travel, staff time, and other costs associated with participating in a research, development, and deployment effort being undertaken with innovators from the commercial and academic sectors.

This federal funding opportunity from NIST is called the Replicable Smart City Technologies (RSCT) Cooperative Agreement Program and is designed to lower that financial barrier for three cities or communities. Funding of approximately $100,000 for each of three local governments will be awarded on a competitive basis. This program, which has a performance period of up to one year, does not require cost sharing or matching. The funding will enable city or community partners to play a lead role in the team-based GCTC efforts to pursue management science for repeatable, standards-based platform approaches to smart cities technologies that can provide measurable performance metrics.

The application deadline for this RSCT program is May 12, 2016. Detailed application information—discussing topics such as eligibility, technical proposal requirements, and evaluation criteria—is available online at

The current round of the Global City Teams Challenge, GCTC 2016, was sparked by two highly successful challenge competitions held in previous years—the Smart America Challenge (2014) and Global City Teams Challenge (Round 1 in 2015). At the GCTC Expo held in June 2015, 64 teams of more than 50 cities and 230 organizations from around the world presented their smart city projects. The GCTC 2016 program builds on that success and aims to demonstrate measurable benefits through smart city solutions that can be replicated and deployed in as many cities as possible. More information about the GCTC 2016 program can be found on the NIST website.

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Last updated: 2016-03-09 14:10

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